Model Success & ikon images Articles Copyright 2011

Is there a Union for Models?

Modelling is one of those professions where things aren’t exactly textbook. You don’t attend a University or TAFE to be ‘qualified as a model’, and although there are hundreds of modelling courses out there none of them guarantee work as a model in the way that say, a motor mechanics apprenticeship would.

Anyone can become a model, and modelling can be done in any way! So how is such a creative and ever evolving industry measured or monitored? Are there standards model industry professionals are required to adhere to? Is there any way models can find out their rights and regulations?

Yes. There is a union for models known as 'The Guild', the Mannequins and Models Division of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association. Formerly knows as the Mannequins Association of Victoria, the association was created to provide recognition for the modelling profession, to improve working conditions, stimulate employment and oversee qualifications. It was registered as a union in 1960 and became the Mannequins and Models Guild of Australia. In 1972, the union changed its name to the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA)

If you are a mannequin employed to parade or demonstrate fashions, a photographic model, a fashion compere or a fashion demonstrator, you are eligible to join your State Branch of the SDA. You may be permanently employed or you may work independently as a freelance operator or through a model agency.
A career as a fashion model can be exciting. It is a lucrative industry but there are many pitfalls for aspiring models. Whether you are a newcomer to the industry or an experienced professional, it is important to be on the lookout for fair pay and working conditions, and to be careful not to be exploited.
The SDA can assist with advice on how to start your career, where to go for training and referral to suitable agencies.

The SDA covers workers in the fields of:
· Reserve and Backdock Employees
· Pharmacy
· General Distribution and Warehousing
· Pharmaceutical Drug Manufacturing and Distribution
· Cosmetic Manufacturing and Distribution
· Van Sales
· Photographic Industry
· Modelling and Mannequin
· Motor Vehicle Sales
· Shoe and Boot Repairing
· Hairdressing and Beauty

The union provides standards of pay, hours, leave, superannuation and working conditions for the industries above. For models this means that employers (model agencies, photographers, other clients who may hire you) are required by law to adhere to the regulations of the Mannequins and Models Award (see below).

Mannequins and Models Award

The online document for this award is long and extensive so we’ve pinpointed the relevant points you need to know for modelling. You can read the full document here.

If you’re a freelance model these regulations become more of an agreement between you and the person is hiring you, however you still have the same rights to be treated fairly and paid accordingly as an agency signed model. You will need to assess the points noted here and decide which you will adopt as your modelling procedures- get these clear and consistent for each client and you’ll not only know what to expect from each job, but you’ll come across as professional and serious about your work!

Author's Bio: 

Joanna Sherwell is founder of Model Success- an education and support service in Melbourne Australia, for young women entering or working in the model industry; providing tips, advice, and support for models, as well as deportment and training for women involved in fashion, corporate events and weddings- why shouldnt all women get to act and feel like a model?

Model Success training and coaching programs focus on:
• Training young women in deportment, professionalism, and presenting with confidence
• Understanding the model industry and where young models fit it
• How to promote oneself and your uniqueness in an industry where competition is high
• Managing money through budgeting, keeping records, and first steps to investing
• Weight management through exercise and how to cook tasty, healthfull meals
• And having steadfast confidence in oneself and your ability to create the life you want